Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Tuesday Top Ten: New Academy Members

for the list maker in me and the list lover in you

The Oscars used to hide their membership roster like they hide the final vote tallies. But for the past few years they've been letting us know who they've invited into their 6000 wide flock. They're trying to keep their numbers stable so we figure they're only passing out as many invites as people who die. It's too much to hope that they're jettisoning members who voted for A Beautiful Mind or Driving Miss Daisy. Of course even knowing who they've invited doesn't tell enough of the story since we don't know who is already in... and thus who is still snubbed. You can see the full list here but I'm sharing my choices for their most interesting choices.

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10 David Benioff (Writer) -Mr. Amanda Peet is a perfect example to me of how hard it is to judge talent in Hollywood, film being a collaborative enterprise. Answer me this: How do you write something as nuanced, intelligent and amazing as 25th Hour and then churn out something like his desecration of The Iliad with the über dumb Troy and then do The Kite Runner? I can't figure him out. Is everyone in Hollywood this hot and cold? And if so is that why the Oscars are so uneven in their discernment capabilities?

09 Allison Janney (Actor) Everyone loves Janney and I assume this invitation is at least partially due to the afterglow of Juno (Ellen Page, curiously, was not invited though Janney, Diablo Cody and director Jason Reitman all were) but she's more of a TV star than anything. I include her because I think this choice is probably representative of how incestuous the film and TV academies have really become.

08 Kimberly Peirce (Director) This was a wise choice since she'll have plenty of time to watch all the movies each year since she never makes any. I kid, I kid... But seriously the Boys Don't Cry / Stop-Loss auteur has only two film credits. How ever does she pay her rent? Untitled 3rd Kimberly Peirce Project: coming to theaters near you in 2016!

07 Jet Li (Actor) I like Jet Li well enough but this made me scratch my head a bit. That said I applaud their obvious desire to get more international and racially diverse these past few years.

06 Barry Alexander Brown (Editor) He was Oscar-nominated once nearly 30 years ago in the documentary category. Inbetween then and now he's done great editing work on films as diverse as Salaam Bombay!, Madonna's Truth or Dare and several Spike Lee films including his three best films (Do the Right Thing, Malcolm X and 25th Hour) . So why invite him now... and not many moons ago? Could this be a precursor to more Oscar attention for Spike Lee joints?

05 Peyton Reed (Director) I've been pulling for him ever since falling in love with Bring it On, his first picture. He hasn't made a picture as good since but I still hope he will. It's an interesting choice since he works almost exclusively in very mainstream comedies which is the last place Oscar looks for people worth nominating.

04 Dylan Tichenor (Editor) I just love him is all. You should too. He's only been the lead editor on nine films but most of them have amazing rhythms and play just ever so smoothly: Boogie Nights, There Will Be Blood, Brokeback Mountain and The Royal Tenenbaums... What a filmography.

03 Ray Winstone (Actor) Most cinephiles will be enthused about this choice. He's made valuable contributions to ensemble films (The Departed) solid popcorn fun (Beowulf... all CGI slimmed-down) and memorable indies (Sexy Beast). Good choice Academy.

02 Jack Fisk (Art Director) Color me astonished that Mr. Sissy Spacek and favored production designer of both David Lynch and Terence Malick and the Art Director nominee that should have won last year (for There Will Be Blood) is not already a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.


01 Michael Haneke (Director) I have a new obsession: trying to figure out what they were thinking when they decided to invite Michael f***ing Haneke (Caché, The Piano Teacher, Funny Games). He's a genius BUT I can't think of a working auteur more anti-Oscar than he. Can you? He likes to punish audiences rather than coddle them (a big Oscar no-no) and that's just for starters. After I get bored of this new obsession of wondering why they invited him, my next obsession will be enduring. I know myself well enough to know that I will spend hours each and every year moving forward, imagining what his Oscar ballot could possibly look like. My brain will hurt. Give 'em hell, Haneke.
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23 comments:

mikadzuki said...

Haneke? Way awesome. What's next - an invitation for Harmony Korine?

Anonymous said...

maybe speilberg had a word about ray winstone since he gave him an awful role in indy 4 ray is phenomenol in 98 film called nil by mouth.

Catherine said...

Perusing the entire list, I got a bit of a shock when I read:

Visual Effects
Nick Davis


...but I guess they're not inviting bloggers just yet. Pity!

shevan said...

Is there anyplace where you can find the full list of voting members like I mean, all 6000 of them? Not that I'd like to read through all of their names but at least the names of the 1300 or so actors. That'd be cool.

NATHANIEL R said...

i don't believe so. but say, 50 years from now you'll know what with the new system of showing us who is invited each year ;)

Joe Reid said...

Nathaniel, your anti-TV bias is getting the better of you here. Allison Janney's been making fantastic little contributions to films for a while now (in fact, judging on the sliding scale that recognizes the lack of roles for women, she's on par with Winstone as far as I'm concerned). She's shown a good eye for quality besides. I think it's a laudable invitation.

And I would be shocked if Michael Haneke fills out an Oscar ballot even once.

Anonymous said...

I had to laugh at the ruby dee inclusion. granted she never was oscar-nominated in the past, but how many more years of voting does she really have? Kinda interesting

jimmy said...

...and Marion Cotillard was invited. she certainly has a good understanding of what it takes to win....marketing, pr, wining & dining, producing a "making of" video to be mailed to academy members a week before votes are due, etc. Bonjour, Marion!

charlie said...

i thought oscar nominees were invited automatically? i remember reading it somewhere but i'm not sure if thats right. weird that ellen page wasnt invited though.

NATHANIEL R said...

who?






i'm kidding! no hate mail please. I do think it's funny that there was that brief flare up of her 9/11 comments that people said would have cost her the win had it come to light sooner... but i doubt that. It's months later and she still got invited :) they really loved her as Edith Piaf.

JA said...

As well they should, Nat. AS WELL WE ALL SHOULD. ;-)

I agree with Joe that I'd be shocked if Haneke filled out his ballot ever. Maybe if it's like one of those fill in the circles SAT type pieces of paper and he could spell out "EAT SHIT" in the bubbles.

gabrieloak said...

I like that Jet Li was invited to join the Academy. Since the number of Asian members must be quite low, he would be a welcome addition.

Liz said...

Jet Li? Just now? That's surprising. I kind of assumed that all the actors whose name I recognized were already on the list.

NATHANIEL R said...

considering there's only about 1,000 actors in the Academy... a lot of the famous ones are not members.

Glenn said...

"This was a wise choice since she'll have plenty of time to watch all the movies each year since she never makes any."

I give you a gold star, Nat. That was choice.

As for the nominees/winners inclusion thing, I always thought winners were automatically invited, but the lack of Tilda Swinton worries me. DDL is already a member for sure, and I imagine Javier Bardem already is too, but this was Tilda's first nom and first time getting close to Oscar so I'm not sure why she's not on the list. Unless they invited her after that Deep End snub?

And with nominees, I think they just choose whoever they feel deserves it? I dunno. Remember when they invited Heath Ledger but not Michelle Williams. Imagine that postal day!?

As for Janney. Well, she's had a big career, plus she's been in two BP nominees and one BP winner.

I love the Peyton Reed inclusion. Maybe they see the same thing in him that a lot of us see.

I'm also loving the inclusions of Walter Salles, Michael Giacchino, Dylan Tichnor, Jack Fisk, Tamara Jenkins/Nancy Oliver (always good to have more female blood in these categories) and Jean Claude Carrier who wrote one of my top five films of the decade, Birth.

Anonymous said...

Walter Salles was a good choice.

Anonymous said...

How is Ruby Dee just becoming an Academy member? Snub her after her brilliance in "Do the Right Thing", but for five minutes in "American Gangster", sure, join our little Academy club. Whatever.

Who's the old guy pictured? Jack Fisk or Michael Haneke?

Marion Cotillard made it in! WOOT! Not that there was any doubt after winning an Oscar, but yay anyway!

If they had to pick someone Asian to diversify their Academy membership, there were far better people to accomplish that than Jet Li? And nada for Rinko last year? That's foul.

And "everyone loves Allison Janney"? Hardly. Not when she has two Emmys that belong to Edie Falco and Jennifer Garner.

Overall, I'm somewhat disappointed with this "list" that they came up with this year.

NATHANIEL R said...

anonymous, the "old guy" is Haneke.

Jack Fisk's beard is still brown ;)

Paul C. said...

Gotta concur with Glenn on the love for Jean-Claude Carriere. I'm actually a little bowled over he hasn't been invited already, considering his work with Milos Forman and his nominated screenplay for The Unbearable Lightness of Being. To say nothing of the fact that he scripted a number of late Buñuel films, most memorably Belle de Jour. So yeah, the guy's one of the greats, and it's about time they recognized that.

Brian said...

A currently working auteur even more anti-Oscar than Haneke? I cannot resist this challenge! How about:

Gaspar Noe
James Benning
Rob Zombie
Matthew Barney
Alan Smithee

NATHANIEL R said...

omg. i didn't think anyone would go for that hook brian but you've bested me! they are more anti-oscar than he

Kamikaze Camel said...

I love that Anonymous 11.38 typed "list". As if it's not actually a list, but a thinly disguised terror document or somethin.

I actually imagine that Haneke will be filling out his Oscar ballot every year and cackling like a mad man when he does it.

Anonymous said...

I typed "list" b/c I thought it was a bad one in context, nothing more. Save your jackass editorialism for elsewhere.